First floating turbine gets new owner

Subsea connector and distribution system supplier Unitech Offshore will take over ownership and operation of the world's first large-scale floating wind turbine from the start of February.

The Hywind demonstration project was installed in 2009 off the south-west coast of Norway (pic credit: Lars Christopher)
The Hywind demonstration project was installed in 2009 off the south-west coast of Norway (pic credit: Lars Christopher)

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The Hywind floating demonstration turbine off Norway’s south-west coast was initially developed by Equinor and was installed in 2009.

Unitech will use Hywind, which consists of a single SWT-2.3-93 turbine supplied by Siemens Gamesa, for further research and development at a new energy research centre opening this year, its CEO Gunnar Birkeland said.

The turbine will also be renamed ‘Unitech Zefyros by Hywind Technology’, the company confirmed.

"The pioneering work that became this historic wind turbine will be transferred to a new phase and made available for research and technology development as part of the ‘Sustainable Energy Ocean Test Facility’ and for the benefit of all those who are concerned with sustainable Energy at sea," Birkeland added. 

Unitech was one of three companies awarded Sustainable Energy Norwegian Catapult Centre status by Norway’s industry ministry in June 2018.

This gives them access to a new research and development centre on on Eldøyane and Rubbestadneset in south-west Norway at which various clean energy technologies, including batteries, fuel cells and hybrid systems, will be tested. The centre is due to open this year.

Beate Myking, director of operations in new energy solutions at Equinor said: "The fact that the turbine will continue to be used for innovation is also valuable for Equinor.

"Floating offshore wind will be a significant source of energy in the future and we will also test this in full-scale at our floating offshore wind farm in Scotland."

The original Hywind floating demonstration project features a single Siemens turbine mounted on a spar buoy moored to the seabed with three anchor piles.

Equinor also developed the 30MW Hywind Scotland, off the UK's east coast. The project achieved first power in October 2017, marking the first commercial-scale floating wind project in the world.

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